Looming verdict for the one who dares to speak and unravel

Alexei Navalny, father of two children, made the transition from cantankerous anti-corruption blogger to become the undisputed leader of the ragtag group of writers, journalists and professional headbangers who make up the entrenched opposition to President Vladimir Putin.

alexey navalny

alexey navalny (Photo credit: valya v)

The ex-Soviet Union claims to have become a democratic and free country, but when you put your ears to those behind the walls you get a totally different impression.

Those who openly come out for their opinion and present other ideas than the main stream are quickly brought to other intentions by those in charge. And in case they would not like to listen to those in power, soon it is made so that they shall be singing a tone lower or shut down.

Wanting to become mayor of Moscow Alexei Navalny, running his campaign, he is managing a dozen young corruption fighters uncovering wrongdoing among the highest echelons of Russia‘s government. In his spare time, he is tweeting and blogging with fury, helping to spread his message that it is time to “destroy the feudal system of power” that has occupied the Kremlin.

Because his uncovering activities he is a danger for the men in power. Since he first burst on to the scene in the winter of 2010 eyes of the higher hierarchy were focused on him and his activists. When Moscow erupted in protest in the winter of 2011, as Putin prepared to return to the presidency amid accusations of voter fraud and creeping tyranny, Navalny became their de facto leader, working crowds into a frenzy with his fiery speeches calling for the people to take the power that was rightfully theirs. His investigations into corruption by everyone from state-run companies to Kremlin-loyal MPs put him in the crosshairs of a government that has never brokered those who challenge it.

Navalny’s anti-corruption campaign won him a loyal following, with thousands of Russians donating to his cause. He took to social media early, winning hundreds of thousands of followers, to circumvent the state’s stranglehold over television and, increasingly, print media.

“Everyone was always asking: When will they come [for me]? And now you think: Well, here they’ve come,” he said.

There were millions of requests about the infamous “Sobyanin’s slabs” scandal – Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin spending suspiciously large amounts of money on replacing tarmac streets with paving slabs (at least, that’s where he says the money is going). It’s kind of funny how the so-called ‘competent industrialist’ is keeping his lips completely sealed and refusing to answer direct questions about it.

English: Navalny during a public presentation ...

Navalny during a public presentation on corruption in Russia at LSE on 21 September 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

TV Rain also did an interesting report on our HQ – watch it if you want to get a feel for how they work.
http://tvrain.ru/articles/navalnyj_i_ego_komanda_ekskljuziv_iz_shtaba_kandidata-347760/

And if you really want a laugh, compare it with Sobyanin’s HQ:
http://tvrain.ru/articles/kto_pomogaet_sobjaninu_semki_v_shtabe_kandidata-347764/

“Putin wants the period of his rule to be safe for him so he wants to control everything that is happening,” Navalny said. “For a time he could do that via TV propaganda and through the support of the population that he got thanks to better quality of living.

“From 2003 to 2010 there was a lot of talk that Putin was ruling with the help of fear and repression, but it wasn’t actually like that. Repression was felt by [jailed oligarch Mikhail] Khodorkovsky and a few other people. In fact, he just bought everyone off.

“Now the money is ending … so now he has turned to repression as a means of running the country.”

The charismatic anti-corruption lawyer and political and financial activist,  “Person of the Year 2009” by Russian business newspaper Vedomosti, who announced his intentions to run for President of Russia on April 4, 2013, is facing embezzlement charges in a case at the core of the toughest crackdown on opposition activists since Russian President Vladimir Putin came to power 13 years ago.

A guilty verdict – which Mr Navalny expects – would prevent him taking part in elections to the powerful position of Moscow mayor in September.

Mr Navalny accused the government of failing to improve infrastructure on the back of Russia’s oil and gas boom, and of leading the country down a path of “degradation and drink”. He said he and his allies were going to “destroy the feudal system” that “robs us all” and “sits like a spider in the Kremlin”.

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The blog of Navalny in English

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  • Russia protest leader’s verdict looms large (news.yahoo.com)
    Alexei Navalny’s energy and charisma propelled him from a lonely role blogging about corruption to wide renown as Russia’s leading opposition activist. His projects, including a campaign to run for Moscow mayor, have attracted hordes of volunteers and fundraisers.
  • Russia protest leader’s verdict looms large (star-telegram.com)
    In the four years since Navalny began blogging about Russia’s endemic corruption, the 37-year-old lawyer has become the major figure of Russia’s nascent opposition. He spearheaded the wave of massive protest rallies that arose in late 2011, riveting crowds of 100,000 or more. Even as his embezzlement trial proceeded in the provincial city of Kirov, Navalny pushed forward his movement by declaring himself a candidate for this fall’s Moscow mayoral election, attracting a wave of eager young volunteers.

    He and many observers are sure a conviction is coming in what they describe as a politically motivated case. What seems less certain is the impact: If he goes to prison, it could sap his movement by taking away its galvanizing figure — or make supporters more determined.

  • Navalny enters Moscow mayor race (bbc.co.uk)
    The anti-corruption blogger, 37, faces a verdict next week in an embezzlement trial.

    He denies allegations he took $500,000 from a state timber firm and says the charges are politically motivated.

    Mr Navalny faces up to six years in prison if found guilty. He has described the trial as a “political vendetta” planned by the Kremlin to stop his political activity.+
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  • Majority party helps opposition run for Moscow mayoral elections (rbth.ru)
    Representatives from the ruling party United Russia have helped several opposition candidates get registered for the mayoral election. Experts consider this to be uncommon for Russian politics and qualify this as an attempt to avoid protests.
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    Upon Sobyanin’s request, members of United Russia have also helped the famous Russian oppositionist Aleksey Navalny collect signatures of Municipal Deputies. However, Navalny agreed to accept only 49 signatures.

    According to the Chief of Navalny’s office, Leonid Volkov, from all the signatures offered by Moscow’s authorities, only those of independent (non-party) Municipal Deputies were accepted.

  • Prosecutors demand six-year sentence for Russian opponent (worldbulletin.net)
    Dressed casually in beige trousers and a light shirt with the sleeves rolled up, he told reporters: “I still hope everything will be fine.”

    Navalny’s trial is widely seen as the most significant in Russia since oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was jailed in 2005 for fraud and tax evasion after falling out with Putin. His $40 billion oil firm, Yukos, was broken up and sold off, mainly into state hands.

    Navalny, who organised the biggest anti-Putin protests since the former KGB spy rose to power in 2000, has suggested the president ordered the trial to stop his criticism of what he calls a political class of “swindlers and thieves”.

    The Kremlin has denied using the courts for political ends and says it does not interfere in criminal cases.

  • Russia protest leader’s verdict looms large (miamiherald.com)
    Navalny’s best-known project, the Rospil website, monitors state contracts and appeals to law enforcement agencies to get the dodgy ones annulled. It employs six lawyers who have overturned nearly 130 contracts since 2010, worth 59 billion rubles ($1.8 billion) in taxpayer money. Other Navalny projects rely on crowdsourcing, attracting information about various grievances from potholes on the roads to leaking pipes in apartment blocks.

    Navalny has also plumbed property registers abroad to name and shame top officials and lawmakers for owning undeclared foreign assets and holding foreign citizenship. One of them, Vladimir Pekhtin, the head of the ethics commission in the lower house of parliament, resigned in February after Navalny blogged about Pekhtin’s luxury property holdings in Miami Beach.

    Navalny’s investigations have targeted a wide circle of loyalists to President Vladimir Putin — from members of parliament to state bankers, striking at the core of Putin’s “vertical of power” and threatening to discredit the entire system of governance he has built. Lilia Shevtsova, a political analyst at the Carnegie Center in Moscow, said Navalny’s anti-corruption campaign has inflicted “painful bites on the system,” turning the blogger into a political leader.

  • Levada Delivers Brutal Cold Facts to Navalny (dyingrussia.wordpress.com)
    The first poll addresses the Kremlin’s prosecution of Navalny in Kirov for alleged corruption.  The second poll deals with Navalny’s quixotic bid for Mayor of Moscow.  Both links are in Russian.

    The news these polls deliver to Navalny is relentlessly, brutally bad.

    The polls reveal that at most less than a third of Russians know who Navalny is.  The one bit of good news is that among those in that tiny group the overwhelming majority, 67%, believe the charges against him in Kirov are politically motivated.   But that means that less than 15% of the Russian population agrees with Navalny’s closing statement in court that he is being persecuted. The rest have no idea what he’s talking about.

  • Russia protest leader’s verdict looms large (kansascity.com)
    “Navalny is the only person in Russia who views politics as routine 24/7 work,” Volkov said. “Navalny always has something going on. He’s always busy.”

    His Foundation for Fighting Corruption, an umbrella organization for projects, is run by Navalny himself and Vladimir Ashurkov, a U.S.-educated former asset manager who has been the key fundraiser for the foundation. Ashurkov refused to comment on the prospects of Navalny’s projects until the verdict is announced. But some of his employees voiced confidence that Navalny’s anti-corruption efforts will not be affected by his possible prison sentence.

    Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer who has worked for Rospil for two years, is optimistic that she and her colleagues will be able to carry on. Navalny and his team have talked about the possibility of a prison sentence and “different scenarios for development,” Sobol said.

    “We came to a conclusion that what we do at the Foundation will go on regardless,” Sobol said. “All of the employees are independent and know their job well.”

  • Russia protest leader’s verdict looms large (foxnews.com)
    His Foundation for Fighting Corruption, an umbrella organization for projects, is run by Navalny himself and Vladimir Ashurkov, a U.S.-educated former asset manager who has been the key fundraiser for the foundation. Ashurkov refused to comment on the prospects of Navalny’s projects until the verdict is announced. But some of his employees voiced confidence that Navalny’s anti-corruption efforts will not be affected by his possible prison sentence.
  • Alexei Navalny: ‘The Kremlin want to jail me but they’re scared too’ (guardian.co.uk)
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About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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